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Ethnobotanical study of plants used in management of livestock health problems by Afar people of Ada’ar District, Afar Regional State, Ethiopia

Mirutse Giday* and Tilahun Teklehaymanot

Author Affiliations

Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2013, 9:8  doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-8

Published: 23 January 2013



The great majority of the Afar people of Ethiopia are pastoralists, highly dependent on livestock and livestock products. Livestock productivity is, however, frequently affected by different diseases. Although many districts in the Region have veterinary clinics, they lack basic facilities. As a result, the Afar people are still dependent on local materials, mainly plants, and traditional knowledge to manage livestock health problems. However, there is a serious threat to such local resources mainly due to recurrent drought and influence of modernization. Hence there is a need for proper documentation and evaluation of the existing ethnoveterinary knowledge in the Region. This study was aimed at documenting and analysing ethnoveterinary knowledge of people in Ada’ar District of the Afar Region associated with the use of plants.


The study involved interviewing selected knowledgeable Afar people in Ada’ar District on the use of plants to manage livestock ailments. Fidelity Level (FL) values were calculated for the reported medicinal plant to estimate their healing potentials. Specimens of reported medicinal plant were collected, identified and deposited at the National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University.


The study revealed 49 medicinal plants as being used by the Afar people of Ada’ar District for the treatment of various livestock ailments, the majority of which (67.3%) were shrubs. Highest number of medicinal plants was used to treat blackleg, contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), sudden sickness and pneumonia. Leaf was the most frequently sought plant part, accounting for 47% of the reported plants. All the medicnal plants used in the District were uncultivated ones growing in semi-disturbed and disturbed habitats as remnant plants and weeds. Cissus quadrangularis and Solanum incanum were the plants scoring the highest fidelity level values for their use to treat blackleg and respiratory tract problems, respectively.


The study revealed that there is still rich knowledge of ethnoveterinary medicine in Ada’ar District. There was no habit of cultivating medicinal plants by people in the study area. Efforts, should, therefore, be made to protect these medicinal plants from further depletion, especially those that are scarcely availabale. Better attention should be given to medicinal plants with the highest fidelity level values as such values could indicate potencies of the plants.

Medicinal plants; Ethnoveterinary practices; Afar; Ada’ar District; Ethiopia